UPDATE: The last time Hulu was in play, it was 2011 and an auction sale went nowhere. And before that, in 2010, an IPO was contemplated but not pursued. So I’m somewhat skeptical about a successful outcome this time around. A myriad news reports are counting 7 named suitors (and an 8th unidentified pay TV outlet) who want the 6-year-old web video service outright or at least an equity stake. Most of the bids came in time for a soft Wednesday deadline set by co-owners Walt Disney Co, News Corp, and Comcast Corp without a formal M&A process. Yahoo came in Friday morning. More may follow. The other confirmed bidders include KKR & Co, Silver Lake Management/Hollywood agency WME, Guggenheim Digital (even though Guggenheim Securities advises Hulu’s board), Time Warner Cable (interested in becoming a 4th co-owner), DirecTV, and the Chernin Group (whose Peter Chernin helped create Hulu and has partnered with investors Qatar Holding and Providence Equity Partners). But Amazon was a no-show. The Los Angeles-based Hulu board began seeking the latest round of bidding in March. Now the question is whether Disney, News Corp, and Comcast will look for an exit and take their content with them, then license it back to Hulu for bigger fees but no exclusivity. If so, then what in the world are bidders actually buying?
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